With introduction of the 2nd-generation Kindle Oasis, all major players in the ebook business offer now waterproof e-readers.
If you are considering buying a device that resists water, take a look at the comparison table below.
We’ve put together major tech specs of Kindle Oasis (2017), Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 (2017), Kobo Aura One (2016), and Nook GlowLight Plus (2015). Prices range from $130 to $250 for entry-level versions.
Obviously, such a comparison makes sense only if you are not tied to one specific ebook platform, or consider switching (being fully aware of all the problems it could create).
Three e-readers meet IPX8 rating, Nook GlowLight Plus has IP67. First, let’s explain what these numbers mean.
- IPX8 – the device can withstand immersion in 2 meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes,
- IP67 – the device can withstand immersion in 1 meter of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.
In short, no matter which device you pick up, you can put it in the bathtub and leave it there for half an hour without causing a damage.
Now, let’s find typical situations water resistance is necessary:
- you go back from the beach and want to remove sand by pouring tap water on the e-reader – IP67 is more than enough,
- you accidentally drop the e-reader while reading a book in a bathtub – IP67 is more than enough unless you want to intentionally test the water resistance by yourself and leave the e-reader for 30/60 minutes,
- you read the ebook outside, while the rain starts falling – IP67 is more than enough.
As you see, all the e-readers in the comparison will meet expectations of the majority of users. You can pick up the cheapest device (Nook GlowLight Plus), and stop reading the rest of the post.
The thing is, water resistance is for users who want their e-readers do more than just let read ebooks without the need to recharge too often.
Sure, for some users, ability to withstand water is the entry point. They don’t consider buying the device that is not waterproof, just like they don’t consider buying the tablet with no microSD card slot.
But, wait, what about the screen? Do you want the front light? How much memory would satisfy you? Ability to play sound?
We’ll analyze these features below the table.
Waterproof e-readers 2017 – comparison
|Feature||Kindle Oasis 2||Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2||Kobo Aura One||Nook GlowLight Plus|
|Screen size||7 inches||6.8 inches||7.8 inches||6 inches|
|Pixel density||300 ppi||265 ppi||300 ppi||300 ppi|
|Screen resolution||1680 × 1264 px||1430 × 1080 px||1872 × 1404 px||1430 × 1080 px|
|Blue light control||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Size (inches)||6.3 × 5.6 × 0.33||5.1 × 6.77 × 0.35||7.7 × 5.5 × 0.27||4.7 × 6.4 × 0.34|
|Size (millimeters)||159 × 141 × 8.3||129 × 172 × 8.8||195 × 139 × 6.9||120 × 163 × 8.6|
|8 GB||8 GB||4 GB|
|micro SD card||No||No||No||No|
|Release date||October 31, 2017||May 2, 2017||September 6, 2016||October 21, 2015|
When it comes to pixel density, all e-readers have at least 265 ppi (pixels per inch). The text rendered on the screen should be clear and crisp, what results in a more enjoyable reading experience.
The most important thing to decide is the size of the screen. Each of the offered waterproof e-readers has a different one. Let’s list them from the smallest to largest:
- 6-inch – Nook GlowLight Plus,
- 6.8-inch – Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2,
- 7-inch – Kindle Oasis 2,
- 7.8-inch – Kobo Aura One.
Since 2007, when the first-generation Kindle was launched, almost all e-readers had 6-inch displays. Why, suddenly, the screen size is so important?
The larger screen means you can see more text in a single page. Amazon claims the 7-inch Kindle Oasis 2 fits 30% more text than the 6-inch Kindle. As a result, you have to turn pages less often.
The bigger screen is better for displaying books with images, or digital versions of newspapers. Finally, on the bigger screen, you can make the font size much bigger without causing the formatting disaster.
Ask yourself what kind of books you read most often. If it’s novels, you should be satisfied with the 6-inch ebook reader. If you, however, mostly read non-fiction or academic books, with lots of tables, charts, or pictures, the bigger the screen the better.
If you are looking for the e-reader to read not only ebooks, but also graphic novels, newspapers, or magazines, maybe the device you need more is a tablet rather than e-reader.
The last set of features that relate to screen is how the device handles reading in the dark. When it comes to front light, all analyzed e-readers have it.
The front light lets read books in the dark (for instance, in bed, when your significant other wants to sleep and you have to turn off the bed lamp).
What Kobo devices offer – and the ones from Amazon and Barnes & Noble don’t – is a blue light control. Called ComfortLight Pro, it is a feature similar to Night Shift in the iPhone and iPad.
In the evening, ComfortLight Pro reduces exposure of blue light from LED lights located around the screen. Thanks to that, the display gets warmer, so that you can read in the evening and during the night without affecting your sleep.
Listening to audiobooks is something you can easily do with your smartphone or tablet, but it’s a rare thing when it comes to e-readers.
Kindle Oasis 2 is Amazon’s first e-reader since the 2011 Kindle Touch which is capable of playing audio files for you. To be more specific, the 2017 Oasis supports Audible audiobooks and does just that. You can’t play your own music on it.
What’s more, the e-reader does not have built-in speakers. It includes a Bluetooth module instead so that you can connect it to external speakers or headphones.
Audiobooks are on the rise. Amazon offers a clever feature called Whispersync for Voice that lets users seamlessly switch between reading a Kindle book and listening to an accompanying Audible audiobook.
No other e-reader in this overview is capable of playing audiobooks.
Hunting for bigger storage options makes sense in smartphones or tablets. You want to pack them with games, apps, and videos. Compared to them, ebooks take much less space.
Having in mind that any of the presented e-readers is connected with an ebook platform that lets store and sync your personal ebook library via the cloud, downloading all ebooks to your e-reader is not needed.
4 GB of the internal storage (having in mind that some of the space is being occupied by system files) is enough to store thousands of ebooks. Enough to store books you will read in the next few years – or, in other words – until you replace the current device with the newer one.
When you look at the waterproof e-readers in the table above, you’ll quickly spot that Kindle Oasis 2 is the model with the biggest memory. It offers either 8 or 32 GB of internal space.
Haven’t I said that 4 GB is more than enough to store thousands of ebooks? It’s still true. The bigger memory on Kindle Oasis is not for your ebooks. It’s for your audiobooks. The 8 GB version can hold only 30 to 40 audiobook files. The 32 GB – around 160.
• • •
Want to learn more about e-readers? Here are the recent posts:
- The price of Kindle Voyage has dropped to $149.99 and it’s not a deal
- Amazon reveals Mother’s Day 2018 deals on Kindle, Fire, and Echo
- All the lovely deals on Amazon devices in one handy list – Kindle, Fire, and Echo
- Best of 2017 – our most popular articles, lists, and guides this year
- A round-up of Christmas 2017 deals on Kindle and Amazon Fire
Want even more? Check out all articles in this topic: E-readers.
Start the discussion
Tips and tricks
Kindle for iOS – powerful reference tools you should use more often
Kindle app for iPad and iPhone offers a few unique – and extra helpful – features that will let you learn more…
Library ebooks are now showing up in Google search in the US
If you search for a book on Google, you may see now whether its digital version is available in a public library…
10 best-rated iPad accessories you can get in 2018
Here is a round-up of iPad accessories that got best ratings on Amazon – cases, keyboards, stands, chargers, screen protectors, and more.
10 premium iPad Pro sleeves hand-crafted from genuine leather and felt
Premium sleeves for iPad Pro 10.5 and 12.9, hand-crafted from genuine leather and natural felt. Options with or without Apple Pencil holder, for iPad with Smart Cover, and Smart Keyboard. Personalization options are available.
50 awesome posters that encourage to read
A list of most awesome read posters from Etsy, Zazzle, Redbubble, Society6 and AllPosters. For all needs and tastes.
50 awesome literary t-shirts for book lovers
A selection of the coolest literary t-shirts that will help express how much you love books. Tees from Etsy, Zazzle, Threadless, Society6, CafePress, and Amazon.